Sep 24, 2010
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MCE INSURANCE BRITISH SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP
Penultimate round Silverstone 24/25/26 September
HILL HEADS OFF TITLE-FIGHTER BROOKES WITH LAST LAP DASH
Free practice one
1.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) 2:22.856s
2.Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) +0.001s
3.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +0.157s
4.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +0.286s
5.Chris Walker (Sorrymate.com SMT Honda) +1.132s
6.Alastair Seeley (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +1.742s
Free practice two
1.Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) 2m:08.312s
2.Josh Brookes (HM Plant Honda) +0.383s
3.Michael Laverty (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +0.526s
4.Michael Rutter (Ridersmotorcycles.com Ducati) +0.791s
5.Chris Walker (Sorrymate.com SMT Honda) +1.201s
6.Simon Andrews (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +1.465s
Title leader Tommy Hill grabbed the top spot in free practice ahead of the penultimate round at Silverstone with a dramatic last lap dash that gave him the advantage over his fellow Title Fighter Josh Brookes.
Worx Crescent Suzuki's Hill proved the man for all conditions running fourth fastest, though little more than a quarter of a second down on his immediate rival in the title stakes, Michael Laverty riding the Relentless Suzuki.
Michael Rutter and HM Plant Honda rider Brookes were sandwiched in between them and they all figured again in the top four in as the conditions improved in the afternoon. Hill was riding consistently and strongly to always be in contention before finally moving ahead of Brookes on his 13th and final lap of the session.
"It has been a good day, a good start to the weekend and we are where we want to be," said Hill, adding: "I'm suffering from a bit of man-flu, a bit weak and tired, but I'll get there. The afternoon was good for me, though it was a bit windy. That was pushing me off line at some of the corners, but hopefully there will be less of that for the rest of the weekend and I can push forwards - as will everyone else.
"We have to be on the front row of the grid to be in the mix and that is what I am working for, then we have to be consistent in the races," added Hill who had run a little more than a third of a second up on Brookes who needs strong results to put his title bid back on course.
The Aussie had a tough time in the previous round at Croft, leaving him 28 points down on Hill, but building on the experience he gained with a winning double on the HM Plant team's Superstock Fireblade in the MotoGP support races and also riding in the World Superbike round, he means business.
Laverty, a dozen points better off than Brookes in the title standings, ran a split second down on him but is confident of continuing the rich vein of form he showed at Croft with a second place and then a victory.
Add in the challenge of the most experienced rider on the grid, Michael Rutter aboard the RidersMotorcycles.com Ducati, who is well on the pace to run fourth fastest, and the Showdown for the title is intensifying, especially as the former two times winner of the British crown Ryuichi Kiyonari is confident that he can improve his lap times which left him back in seventh place. Alastair Seeley was the sixth of the Title Fighters and is hoping for an upturn in fortune. The Relentless Suzuki rider had run sixth in the wet but tipped off at Farm in the opening minutes of the second session, meaning he could take no further part this afternoon.
Steve Brogan, riding Jentin BMW, the leader in the Mirror.co.uk BSB-EVO title stakes ran fastest in class, with a lap in 2m 13.084secs, some two seconds up on his nearest rival for the crown, Hudson Kennaugh aboard the Splitlath Aprilia.
More, from a press release issued by Swan Honda:
SWAN HONDA GET TO GRIPS WITH SILVERSTONE
The Swan Honda team returned to action today for the opening two free practice sessions for the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Silverstone with Stuart Easton and James Ellison ending the day thirteenth and fourteenth respectively.
The conditions have been changeable throughout the day and in this morning's wet opening session Ellison was seventh fastest and this afternoon both riders continued to work through various changes in a bid to be able too challenge for the front row in tomorrow's Swan Combi Roll for Pole.
Easton said: "If you look at the position we have finished today then it doesn't look great, but in fact it has been a very productive day for us and we have made some good progress which hopefully will be reflected tomorrow. It is a long lap around here so the gap we have at the moment doesn't worry me as I wasn't pushing too hard today. I am still feeling good and confident after the performances we had at Croft and we were always going to be a little behind today as the other riders have already done some laps of the track; I think tomorrow could be a different story. Overall I am satisfied with how today has worked out and I think we have the potential to be up there and fighting again on Sunday."
Ellison said: "This morning felt really good and I was running inside the top five when I came back in the garage but then a few of the other riders had a last run and I dropped to seventh. That didn't faze me as I knew if we had put new rubber in we could have gone quicker again. The second free practice was in the dry and we used a similar setting to Croft, compared to what we ran at a recent track day at Silverstone. However we have spent some time looking at the data and we are feeling positive that we know the direction we need to work towards tomorrow before qualifying."